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Coronavirus update from Somerset County Council – 15/07

Posted on 15th July, 2021 in News

All our help and information is now available in a single place on the SCC website https://www.somerset.gov.uk/latest-coronavirus-updates/

This page is refreshed through the day so please check in regularly to keep across developments and news.

Public Health dashboard: Detailed Public Health information dashboards are available on our website https://www.somerset.gov.uk/covid-19-dashboard/ These are updated daily.

Top stories today:

Public Health leaders urge caution as restrictions lift

Public Health leaders in Somerset are urging people to proceed with caution and act responsibly as the country prepares for the easing of national Covid-19 restrictions.

From Monday 19 July, most legal restrictions relating to Covid-19 will be lifted, but the risks of Covid-19 have not gone away.

Somerset’s Covid-19 Local Engagement Board and the NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are reminding residents that we all have a role to play in protecting vulnerable people and frontline workers as we move into this new phase.

Although case rates in Somerset are lower than the national average, case numbers of Covid-19 are still rising in the county and are expected to continue to rise for the time being.

Somerset County Council’s Director of Public Health, Professor Trudi Grant, said: “We know it’s been a tough 18 months but people in Somerset have done a fantastic job helping to keep infection rates down. While we all want to return to normal, we also have to remember that the behaviours we have adopted still play a key role in protecting ourselves and other people.

“The risks of Covid remain, and we recommend you continue wearing a face covering in indoor spaces such as on public transport or in a shop if you can. Please continue to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, meet up outside rather than inside, and, if you are inside, make sure you let the fresh air in.

“Getting double vaccinated, self-isolating when required, and using rapid tests twice a week will also help limit the spread of the virus – so important to help protect ourselves and those around us.”

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Tips to cope with anxiety about coming out of lockdown

Easing of lockdown will allow us to get back to the people and things we love, but it’s OK if you feel worried about going back to something more “normal” as lockdown restrictions loosen.

The coronavirus outbreak has been hard for us all and we have all experienced the effects differently, including those of us who have been shielding.

Even positive change can lead to anxiety, and it can take time to readjust to things we have not done for a while. Feelings of post-lockdown anxiety are likely to pass with time as we get used to the “new normal” but it’s important to do what we can to take care of our mental health.

There are lots of things that can help you to manage these feelings and make it easier to adjust. You can check them out below.

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A reminder of the guidance from 19 July

Most legal restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic will end on Monday 19 July. This means that when step 4 of the Government’s road map takes place:

  • You will not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with.
  • There will be no limits on the number of people you can meet.
  • It will no longer be necessary for the Government to instruct people to work from home. Employers can start to plan a return to workplaces.
  • Face coverings will no longer be required by law in any setting.
  • There will no longer be limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). There will be no
  • requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing.
  • There will no longer be restrictions on group sizes for attending communal worship.

Covid-19 has not gone away, so when you take part in these activities it’s important to remember the actions you can take to stay safe.

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£500k fund to help Somerset’s communities open up safely

A new £500,000 fund is being launched by Somerset County Council to help towns and parishes reopen community facilities safely and bring people back together.

As national coronavirus restrictions ease, the County Council is working in partnership with Somerset Association of Local Councils (SALC) to help towns and parishes open up village halls, meeting rooms and other facilities in a Covid-secure way.

The safe reopening will reassure people that they can reconnect with their communities after long months of isolation and remove some of the anxieties they may have around social mixing.

The money is being allocated by Somerset County Council from Contain Outbreak Management Funding (COMF), provided by the Department for Health and Social Care to support public health activities directly related to the Covid-19 response.

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Support to help change drinking habits

Community pharmacy staff across the county are ready to advise people on how they can change their drinking behaviour to help improve their health as we emerge from lockdown.

Somerset County Council is linking with pharmacies across Somerset in a bid to help support people who may be drinking more than the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines.

It has been said that alcohol is the nation’s favourite coping mechanism. As we gradually come out of lockdown, some people are finding that they have changed their drinking habits during the many months of challenges and would appreciate support to reduce their drinking.

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